For twenty years, Daniel Hardesty has borne the emotional scars of a childhood trauma which he is powerless to undo, which leaves him no peace. One August morning in 1995, the young Daniel and his estranged father Francis – a character of ‘two weathers’, of irresistible charm and roiling self-pity – set out on a road trip to the North that seems to represent a chance to salvage their relationship. They have one shared interest, The Artifex, a children’s TV drama for which Fran works on set, and Daniel has been promised special access to the studio. But with every passing mile, the layers of Fran’s mendacity and desperation are exposed, pushing him to acts of violence that will define the rest of his son’s life. The acclaimed author of The Ecliptic writes a novel of exceptional force and beauty about the bond between fathers and sons, about the invention and reconciliation of self – weaving a haunting story of violence and love.
Wood takes the passing, shabby details of mundane landscapes and makes them jitter and throb with yearning and menace. A Station on the Path to Somewhere Better is his best work yet – a novel written from the gut, and with a correspondingly visceral power. A superbly unsettling account of trauma and cautious recovery. Sarah Waters
A shocking account of extreme violence and its complicated after-effects. It is a vivid and unsettling novel filled with surprises and insights. Ian McGuire
Tenderly dissecting the limits of love between parent and child while wriggling with a rich, thrilling tension, this palpably atmospheric story found its way beneath my skin and now lives there. Tell anyone who’ll listen, Benjamin Wood is one of the best novelists in Britain. David Whitehouse
A heartbreaking and heart-stopping new novel; a dark Northern noir that moves at breakneck speed but never fails to be tender and vulnerable as well as visceral and terrifying. Andrew McMillan